Black Hills Energy safety call before you dig tree August 2020

August 11 is almost here, and Black Hills Energy hopes that the 8/11 date on the calendar will serve as a natural reminder for residents to call 811 at least 2 business days prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked. With more people at home during pandemic restrictions, and summer a peak time to work on home improvement and construction projects, it’s more timely than ever that residents remember to dig safely.

When calling 811, homeowners and contractors are connected to Nebraska 811, the local one call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Requests can also be made online at www.ne1call.com.  At no cost to you, professional utility locators will arrive at the digging site to mark the approximate location of underground utility lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Every few minutes, an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting 811. Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, inconvenient outages, and fines. With more people staying home and relying even more on their utilities to work and communicate, inconvenient outages are important to avoid. For every digging project, no matter how large or small, call or click 811, it’s free, it’s safe and it’s the law.  Installing a mailbox, building a deck, planting a tree, and laying a patio are just some examples of digging projects that need a call to 811 before starting.

“Our most important responsibility is the safety of our customers, employees and the communities we serve, and that includes safe digging any time of year,” Kevin Jarosz, vice president for Nebraska gas operations for Black Hills Energy, said. “On August 11 and throughout the year, we remind homeowners and professional contractors alike to use the free 811 service before digging to reduce the risk of striking an underground utility line. At a time when we’re relying on important utilities to connect us and keep us safe at home, calling 811 or visiting www.ne1call.com is really the only way to know which utilities are buried in your area so that you can dig safely.”

Black Hills Energy reminds you:

1.  Call or Click Before You Dig.  Always “Call or Click Before You Dig” at least 2 working days in advance to have utility lines marked.  You can call 811 toll-free, schedule online at www.ne1call.com or download the Nebraska 811 App.  At no charge to you, utility locators will respond within two business days to mark the approximate location of buried utility lines at your site with color-coded paint or flags.

2.  Mark Your Planned Excavation Site.  Using white spray paint, stakes, or flags mark the area around your planned excavation site before you call. “White-lining” helps the utility locator understand your plan and reduces the chance for project delays if the utility locator must return to locate additional areas.

3.  Respect the Marks.  Always dig with care and use a shovel within 18 - 24 inches of any utility lines as opposed to using heavy equipment. Just a nick can create a weak spot that may develop into a gas leak, cause an electrical or internet outage or result in injury.

4.  Don’t Rely on Old Line Locate Marks.  If you don’t dig within 10 days of having utility lines marked, contact Nebraska 811, again. At no charge, utility locators will gladly return to re-mark the lines as quickly as possible.  Never rely on outdated information.   

Visit www.call811.com or www.blackhillsenergy.com/safety  and click on Call 811 before you dig for more information about 811 and safe digging practices.

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